Stump Cross Caverns owners put their Pateley Bridge home up for auction to fund work on the much-loved visitor attraction
Stump Cross Caverns near Pateley Bridge have long been a much-loved landmark and visitor attraction but keeping the business viable has not been easy for owners Lisa Bowerman and Nick Markham. Being forced to close for 10 months during the pandemic wrecked their plans and left them struggling financially but the determined couple have gone above and beyond to keep the fabulous limestone caves open.
They raffled off their camper van to raise funds and decided to put their one-bedroom flat in Pateley Bridge in a prize draw. The draw has now been replaced by a property auction and bids are due to open on the attractive ground floor apartment, which is valued at £180,000.
The minimum starting bid for the property on Pateley Bridge High Street is £170,000 and the auction begins on March 17, 2022, at 12 noon with Purplebricks. The sale of Lisa and Nick’s home will go towards carrying out essential maintenance at Stump Cross Caverns, including a new lighting system.
Lisa says: “Carrying out the essential maintenance on the caverns means so much because I’d like them to be restored for our future generations. I want each and every person visiting to have the best time possible. We’ve already done so much to raise the much-needed funds, including staying down in the caves for 105 hours in October last year and climbing 1,000 steps.
“The only thing I can do now to raise the remainder of the money we need is to auction off my flat. It’s not been an easy decision but this business means so much to our family and to the local community. Saving the business also saves people’s jobs. The caverns are in a rural area so it’s important that we keep our people in work.”
The limestone caves that make up Stump Cross Caverns were formed around half a million years ago and were discovered by lead miners in the 1860s. They have been privately owned and open as a visitor attraction ever since.
Now a Site of Special Scientific Interest, the cave system extends well beyond the show caves open to the public and continues underground for almost four miles. Along with the incredible natural phenomenon, the site also has a visitor centre featuring bones of Ice Age creatures, such as bison, wolverines and reindeer. Stump Cross Caverns also has a cafe, a cinema and motorhome pitches and hosts children’s parties.
Visit www.stumpcrosscaverns.co.uk. For details of the auction featuring the Pateley Bridge apartment visit https://purplebricks.gotoproperties.co.uk/lot/details/63719